NVU Announces Commencement Speakers

Northern Vermont University Announces Commencement 2022 Speakers

In-Person Traditional Ceremonies Resume on Each Campus

Northern Vermont University announces the Class of 2022 Commencement will be held May 14 at 11 a.m. on the Johnson campus and May 15 at 11 a.m. on the Lyndon campus. Graduation details are available at NorthernVermont.edu/Commencement2022.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the families and friends of our graduating students to our campuses to share in this wonderful recognition of their commitment and determination,” said Interim President John W. Mills. “After two challenging years and two commencement pivots due to COVID-19, handing diplomas to our graduates and seeing their smiling faces in person will be fantastic for our graduates as well as the faculty and staff that have supported each of them through this unprecedented pandemic.”

Returning to the full Commencement experience this year, NVU welcomes a guest speaker to address each campus community. This year’s guest speakers are Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, who will address the NVU-Lyndon graduating class, and Rebecca Holcombe, who will address the NVU-Johnson graduating class.

Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, a Democratic senator serving Vermont in the Chittenden District, was born in Los Angeles and attended public schools in Santa Monica, California. She received a B.S. in Natural Resource Planning and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Vermont in 2008, where she was Student Government Association President and graduated magna cum laude. Senator Ram Hinsdale earned her Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2018. Her career in Vermont has spanned preschool education, legal advocacy for victims of domestic violence and municipal civic engagement.

Senator Ram Hinsdale currently works to build social equity and inclusion in non-profit organizations, businesses, school districts, and municipalities. She served in the Vermont House of Representatives on behalf of Burlington, Chittenden District 6-4 from 2008 to 2016, where she sat on the House General, Housing and Military Affairs, and Ways and Means Committees, and as Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. She has also served as Co-Chair of the Vermont Attorney General’s Immigration Task Force, and as a member of the boards of Emerge Vermont, the Main Street Alliance of Vermont, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the Regenerative Food Network, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council. Senator Ram Hinsdale lives with her husband, Jacob Hinsdale, who grew up on Country Cedars Farm in Charlotte, and their dog, Miso.

NVU-Johnson welcomes former Vermont Secretary of Education and NVU-Lyndon alum Rebecca Holcombe as its guest speaker.

Rebecca Holcombe earned her certification as a school administrator through her coursework at Lyndon State College. She received her Doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, her master’s in Business Administration from the Simmons School of Management, and her bachelor’s from Brown University. She was appointed to serve as Vermont’s Secretary of Education by two governors. Prior to her work for the state of Vermont, she was the Director of Teacher Education at Dartmouth College, where she also taught a course on public policy.

Throughout her professional career, Holcombe has been recognized for her commitment to equity and public service. She received The Phyllis J. Rappaport Award from the Simmons School of Business for her significant deeds and accomplishments (2019). She received the Dr. Lincoln David Lynch Career Achievement in Education Award, presented by the New England Association of School Superintendents (2018). Dartmouth College recognized her with the 2017 Martin Luther King Social Justice Award. In 2015, she was recognized as an American Graduate Champion by Vermont PBS.

“We’re pleased that these two individuals, whose work is deeply rooted in serving Vermont and Vermonters, will speak with our graduating students at this culminating moment in their academic careers,” said Interim President Mills.